I Quit: Discerning Your Seasons

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Have you ever stayed in something longer than you should have? I have. Whether it be a career/job, relationship, volunteering or other, there are roles and spaces we occupy that can become so routine that we ignore the precious signals indicating a season change. The season change prompts us to put to bed old things so God can bring us into the new. Thus, it is important to discern when God is bringing you into a new season so you have room to transition, prepare and embrace for what is being birthed in your life. To several things you will likely need to say, “I quit” or “I resign” or “I’m moving on.”

Since early spring 2015, I’ve been in a gradual transition to enter God’s new season for me. A 10-year public relations professional,  a volunteer with a few ministries and organizations, there are places, roles and titles as of late from which I’ve resigned or have reduced my time expended toward. These items are not bad. God has been shaping me for some time, developing me for the new.

 

Dear Sirs I Quit

Part of this new path (which has also meant enrollment in grad school) is the burden God has placed upon my heart to mentor at-risk youth here in Washington, D.C. Not simply sharing an encouraging word and passing them by—but true in-the-trenches work that will require my one-on-one time, extending others greater compassion and patience when their lifestyles conflict with mine. This new season aligns with our Voices Against the Grain ministry objectives to “bring clarity and restoration to deception, to educate and equip, to encourage and to love in truth.” Too often we see the moral decay overtake our communities and watch it play out day after day, night after night on our local news stations. We may not know what to do because the issues seem far beyond solving. We may also hope that if it gets intolerable enough, someone will fix it so that we can continue our lives comfortably and uninterrupted. I wonder how many people who could help have subcontracted their abilities and expertise hoping someone else will step in—all to preserve their comfort?

Should you choose to not subcontract your calling to someone else in order to preserve your comfort, and should you choose to bed the old and embrace your new season:

Be advised: God will stretch you. You will be placed in unfamiliar spaces. You will need to fully rely on God.

Know that: God has already equipped, predestined and qualified you for this. Others may be confused and intimidated by your transition. Fact is, God has always been preparing to reveal you and your calling at the appointed time. God will also bring to you the people, provision and other resources to help you carry out your new season.

The joy: When you put to bed the old, you’ll discover that God has so much more in store for you—different and greater than you imagined!

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a “time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” “a time to plant and a time to uproot” reads verse 1. Some seasons are about planting while other seasons are designed to uproot old routines so that the “new” can be planted and take root.

Are you ready to quit the old so you can embrace the new?

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

 

 

You May Not Recognize Me

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

For the past four to five months I’ve been in transition and transformation. Still undergoing both, joyfully and in God’s perfect peace, in spite of changes. Leaving the familiar behind and entering the unfamiliar. I’ve considered this time a luxury and privilege as I daily experience God’s unending grace, mercies and unmerited favor as He continues to shape and shed me. I began undergoing the process even before this period. Spending more time in God’s Presence, I thought I’d already shed things unnecessary and a distraction to the journey. Changes in what music I listen to. Changes in what I choose to watch on television and let enter my environment. Changes to relationships, profession and things previously familiar, mastered and comfortable.

God is shedding and shifting, and my thoughts have transformed because of. While I certainly wasn’t a conformist with society before, I am truly a stranger to it now. Simply leading a ministry named “Voices Against the Grain” pits me against a world that desires to conform with the norms. Indeed, this factor alone has placed me in some isolated spaces, but I’m good with that.

My thinking on another level is causing a separation from the familiar and the tolerable. 

Seldom are transitions cut and dry. The process can be messy and not a straight line. While the journey has presented some discomfort, I am excited and expectant for the next step. I asked God for the transition because I desire to be the highest representation of who He has called me to be. I would never become this staying in the old space. The previous space was becoming too small, too tight. Frankly, I’ve outgrown it.

Being birthed from the old and into the new space, that could be messy too. Therefore, you may not recognize me. What I’ve learned is that people are uncomfortable with the “you” they don’t recognize because it is contrary to how they’ve always seen you. But in fact, we should all hope to evolve, to be transformed and transitioned, when God has planted greatness inside us that is yet to be unpackaged. Heaven forbid if the caterpillar remained unchanged and never transformed into a butterfly; never becoming a pollinator of flowers and vegetation, helping them grow and bear fruit.

Romans 12 2 gray

In the birthing into this new space, I am grateful for the midwives God has provided me along the way. Prayers and the wise counsel of select brothers and sisters in Christ have benefited me greatly. Their value is immense.

The transition and transformation doesn’t make me better than you. I’ll still have flaws. I’ll still tell you the truth, but prayerfully with more compassion and kindness. I’ll exercise greater patience toward those who drag their feet/don’t get on board as quickly as I’d prefer.

Are you in a familiar space that is becoming too tight, too confined? Do you have the same thoughts, same ideas, revert to the same patterns with the same, tired results? To truly experience the highest representation of who God has called you to be, are you willing to be transformed and transitioned—even if it means your temporary discomfort, entering the unfamiliar, shedding old thoughts, old places and some people—and becoming unrecognizable before some?

The good news: should you embrace this journey, God is there with you! God bless you.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2, New International Version 

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.